Judith Van Gieson Books In Order

Neil Hamel Books In Publication Order

  1. North of the Border (1988)
  2. Raptor (1989)
  3. The Other Side of Death (1991)
  4. The Wolf Path (1992)
  5. The Lies That Bind (1993)
  6. Parrot Blues (1995)
  7. Hotshots (1996)
  8. Ditch Rider (1998)

Claire Reynier Books In Publication Order

  1. The Stolen Blue (2000)
  2. Confidence Woman (2001)
  3. Vanishing Point (2001)
  4. Land of Burning Heat (2003)
  5. The Shadow of Venus (2004)

Standalone Novels In Publication Order

  1. Mercury Retrograde (1994)

Neil Hamel Book Covers

Claire Reynier Book Covers

Standalone Novels Book Covers

Judith Van Gieson Books Overview

North of the Border

On one side of the border, a murder; on the other, a killer. In between stands Neil Hamel, a woman with a passion for the truth.’Don’t worry, Chiquita’ was the Kid’s answer to almost everything, and right now Neil Hamel missed the Kid her part time lover and car mechanic. Neil had gone to Mexico as a favor to a man she shouldn’t be doing favors for, and what it got her was a face to face meeting with a corpse, a Mexican lawyer with a diamond pinky ring and a throat slit from ear to ear. Returning home to Albuquerque, Neil couldn’t let go of the tangled scheme she had uncovered. Looking for the truth, she finds human predators.’Neil Hamel is the best thing to happen to criminal investigation since Father Brown…
. Van Gieson is a classy writer.’ Tony Hillerman


A steady law practice, a stash of tequila, a lover she calls the Kid only a debt of the heart to her dear, dead aunt Joan could compel Neil Hamel to leave Albuquerque for Montana in search of a bird. No ordinary winged creature, the Arctic falcon is a near mythic figure, a cool killer who likes the meat around the heart. In pursuit of this elusive species, Neil witnesses a sight even more awesome a body plunging off a cliff. Soon she is swept into a murder case that brings together militant environmentalists and high stakes poachers, federal investigators, and even an Arabian prince. Suddenly, in a wilderness where she has no shelter and little chance for survival, Neil is the target of human predators.

The Other Side of Death

The ‘annual’ Saint Patrick’s Day party hosted by Tim and Jamie Malone in their small northern New Mexico community is their first in many years. But it also marks their last as they prepare to move to the Midwest. For Albuquerque attorney Neil Hamel, going to the party is a reunion of sorts with various old friends she spent a year carousing with in a small town in Mexico in the late 1960s. Just about everyone seems to have made some move from hippie to mainstream except Lonnie Darmer, who as in the old days gets too drunk to drive home. Neil drives them both to Lonnie s little house in Santa Fe and wakes the next morning to discover her missing. Lonnie is found dead in an Anasazi ruin in the mountains near Santa Fe, her body unscathed.

The police immediately conclude Lonnie committed suicide, and her friends seem almost relieved to concur all except Neil. As she investigates her friend s death, suspects suddenly abound. Even Neil herself comes under suspicion, as the real killer draws ever closer, eager to satisfy a newfound appetite for killing.

The Wolf Path

It’s a 104 degree day in Albuquerque when attorney/sleuth Neil Hamel gets a call asking her to go to southern New Mexico to help a wolf advocate who calls himself Juan Sololobo. Juan, who attracts trouble wherever he goes, is visiting the town of Soledad to give an educational program featuring his timber wolf, Sirius. After someone lets Sirius out of his pen, a federal official is murdered and Juan becomes the prime suspect. As Neil defends him she finds herself immersed in a deadly conflict between ranchers and environmentalists over wolf reintroduction. The Wolf Path is Judith Van Gieson’s fourth Neil Hamel mystery. Since it was first published to critical acclaim in 1992, Mexican gray wolves have been reintroduced to the Southwest, and there are now several packs free ranging in Arizona and New Mexico. Wolf advocate Bobbie Holaday, the founder of Preserve Arizona’s Wolves PAWS, updates this edition with an introduction summarizing the progress that has been made. Van Gieson has published eight mysteries featuring Neil Hamel and five with University of New Mexico librarian Claire Reynier.

The Lies That Bind

Accepting the case of an elderly woman accused of murdering her son’s accidental killer, sometime sleuth Neil Hamel begins an investigation across the Southwest landscape and into the dangerous truths of the victim and accused. PW.

Ditch Rider

In Judith Van Gieson’s eighth outing, feisty lawyer/sleuth Neil Hamel immerses herself and her devotees in her new Albuquerque neighborhood crisscrossed by irrigation ditches and troubled by gang violence when she defends a teenage girl who claims she killed a gang member. As Neil settles into her new house in Albuquerque’s North Valley, she befriends thirteen year old Cheyanne Morales, who lives in a nearby trailer with her mother and her younger half brother. Cheyanne’s teenage angst is complicated by the pressures that gang culture imposes on her and her peers. Neil gets a harrowing glimpse of these pressures when a fifteen year old is shot to death not far from Neil’s new home. The cops suspect a rival gang member, but late one night, a battered Cheyanne shows up at Neil’s front door to confess that she was the shooter. The authorities are reluctant to accept Cheyanne’s story as a minor she’d get only a slap on the wrist and Neil is dubious too, but she agrees to represent her young friend. With Cheyanne in custody, Neil uncovers chilling evidence that the girl’s family and friends intend to take justice into their own hands. Only Neil and her lover, the Kid, can prevent another tragedy from playing out along the ditches of her new neighborhood. With its intricate, timelyplot, deft characterizations, and artful evocations of place, Ditch Rider confirms Judith Van Gieson’s reputation as one of the foremost writers of Southwestern suspense.

The Stolen Blue

For the fifty year old, recently divorced Claire Reynier, it’s time to start over. But her new direction in life at a New Mexico university becomes a detour to murder when an old friend and mentor is found dead. Praise for The Stolen Blue:’Van Gieson’s back and better than ever. Don’t Miss The Stolen Blue.’ Tony Hillerman’Van Gieson was always a terrific writer, but now she’s outdone herself with The Stolen Blue. A captivating and absorbing, highly readable, stay with it till you’re done mystery.’ Fred Harris, author of Coyote Revenge

Confidence Woman

New Mexico rare book expert Claire Reynier is the victim of identity fraud and the chief suspect in the con woman’s murder in this new mystery from a writer whose work has been praised as ‘crisp, taut, and utterly compelling’ Entertainment Weekly.

Vanishing Point

‘In Judith Van Gieson’s Vanishing Point: A Claire Reynier Mystery, her second Southwestern adventure after The Stolen Blue, archivist and rare books maven Reynier is thrilled when a University of New Mexico graduate student finds the missing journal of Jonathan Vail, a legendary young writer who disappeared 30 years earlier…
. A treat for the academically inclined.’ Publishers Weekly When talented young writer Jonathan Vail vanishes without a trace on a camping trip, he leaves behind a wilderness journal, and an acclaimed first novel. But questions abound. Has the twenty three year old prodigy been dispatched by thieves? Does his girlfriend, whose version of Vail’s disappearance in Utah s Slickrock Canyon satisfies no one, know more about Vail s fate than she is telling? And what of Vail s eagerly anticipated work in progress a new canyonlands journal apparently lost along with his body? Flash forward more than thirty years, when a rock slide reveals a hidden cave near Slickrock Canyon. Vail s body isn t recovered, but the missing journal is. When it is presented for authentication to Claire Reynier, an archivist and rare books expert at the University of New Mexico s Center for Southwest Research, danger and mayhem suddenly come to anyone who touches the faded spiral notebook or seeks to discover what happened to Jonathan. Suspenseful twists of plot make this story a page turner. Vanishing Point, the second in Judith Van Gieson s Claire Reynier mystery series, will please all mystery buffs who seek authentic Southwest settings, including ones in and around Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico, the town of Madrid, and the wide skies and long shadows of the Southwest s canyonlands. Lovers of the literary mystery, meanwhile, will delight in Reynier s detective work.

Land of Burning Heat

An ancient religion, a family’s hidden past, and a modern day murder confront archivist Claire Reynier in her search for a priceless document. A young woman named Isabel Santos discovers a faded scrap of paper buried for hundreds of years under her family s adobe house. It could be the controversial last words of a Jewish mystic condemned to death by the Inquisition in Mexico City in 1596. Before Claire can examine the document, it disappears and tragedy strikes the Santos family, leaving Claire with many unanswered questions. Were these really the mystic s last words? How did they get to New Mexico, a place Sephardic Jews hid from the Inquisition and continued to practice their religion in secret for centuries? Is someone willing to kill for the document?Santos is Spanish for saints, but Claire soon discovers that this namesake is a mixed legacy. Every time she visits their old home, she puts herself in harm s way, yet she continues to search for answers to questions rooted in a dark and dangerous time when heretics were killed for their beliefs.

The Shadow of Venus

From the acclaimed author of Land of Burning Heat the murder of a young woman takes rare book expert Claire Reynier into Albuquerque’s dark streets, where she must shed light on the shadows of the past.

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